I’ve known ever since I was very young that I really enjoyed writing and that people liked to read what I wrote. In elementary school, I wrote stories in which my friends and I were the heroes. I also wrote poetry and entered poetry competitions where I won a few awards. My family, and my grandmother in particular, was determined that I would be a famous poet one day. But even in the fourth grade, I knew I would rather be a journalist. My reasoning was if I was a journalist, I could help people with my writing and keep people informed about the world.
It was in the fifth grade my best friend Kate told me about Mizzou, where her parents were alumni. “It’s the best journalism school in the world!” she said. “It would be perfect for you! I’m going there too!” Kate and I eventually grew apart, and she eventually picked a different school. But I never lost my passion for journalism.
Fast-forward to my senior year of high school, and I had forced myself to at least consider some other schools, but Mizzou still seemed like the best choice by far for my field. Just to be sure, I visited the campus – and instantly fell in love. The people were friendly, the campus was beautiful and full of tradition, and the J-School was a powerhouse of experienced faculty, up-to-date technology, and a curriculum that assured me tons of reporting experience. To top it all off, my SAT scores made me a direct-admit to the J-School, and I was able to get in-state tuition through scholarships.
It hasn’t always been easy. Being so far away from home in Dallas deterred several of my high school classmates from staying at Mizzou, and almost deterred me. And it’s true, the J-School will push you hard to be the best journalist that you can be. Half-hearted journalists will eventually switch majors. But I began to love the challenge. I enjoyed the feeling of being pushed out of my comfort zone to put a story together.
The best advice I can give a student who is thinking about coming to Mizzou for journalism is that yes, definitely come here, but know that just attending the school and passing your classes will not be enough to make you an awesome journalist and get you a dream job. The tools for your success are here, you just have to seek them out. A lot of the best journalists in the profession come to visit MU to give talks. Go to those lectures and talk to those seasoned journalists. Make sure you join an organization or two so that you can network and get leadership experience. Always read the news, and always write. It wasn’t until later in my college career that I really grasped how all encompassing a Mizzou J-School education is, but I really encourage future journalists to take advantage of it.
If you are interested in sharing your own Why Mizzou story, email us at Tips@JSchoolBuzz.com.